The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go has invaded the App Store and our society's consciousness, and as with any such trend, there are good, bad, and ugly elements. We've seen the good news—people getting out, socializing, getting exercise. It's even breathed new life into small businesses who have seen increased traffic due to players searching for characters to catch.

Related: Nintendo Reportedly Looking to Make Game Controllers for iOS

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The augmented reality app has also been good for Nintendo's and Apple's bottom lines. My 12-year-old cousin had to go out and upgrade his iPhone 4 to an iPhone SE so it would be capable of playing the game. It was a need not a want! Imagine if the app only worked on Apple (or Android for that matter.) A whole legion of users would likely switch platforms just to be a part of it. That's what Nintendo has learned over the years. Mario and other characters are exclusive to its devices, so even if the Xbox or Playstation is functionally better, many users stick with Nintendo because of the brand's exclusive characters.

Pokemon

But the app has been bad for virtual reality, at least for those that understand the difference. VR requires special goggles and they might be tethered to a computer or have your smartphone locked away inside. You can't play VR games in the real world. You really need to be sitting down or in a safe place. Pokémon Go took off because everyone has a smartphone handy and can open up the app, interact with the app, and put it away in a few seconds. VR startups who don't have an AR angle may need to pivot.

On a more serious and ugly note, people have been injured using the app. It's easy to be distracted while walking around using the app, and some players have been robbed. But it's downright crazy to be cycling or even driving with the app. Yes, the app works at speeds up to 20 miles per hour, and at least one user found out that it's a bad idea, the hard way. Not only did he crash his car while playing Pokémon Go, he did so by driving into a cop car, while the police were standing to the side, with their bodycam recording it all. Ugly indeed.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.